Sergio Ramos and Zinedine Zidane insisted Real Madrid deserved to reach the Champions League final after a thrilling 4-3 aggregate win with Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
Madrid scraped into the final for the third season running, with the 12-time champions lucky not to concede two penalties and dependent on goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who made a string of sublime saves to keep the Bundesliga champions at bay.
“Real Madrid deserve to be in Kiev,” said proud captain Ramos, who might have been penalised for fouling striker Robert Lewandowski in the area.
“Our DNA pushes us to fight until the end. Now we have to enjoy it and try to win the final. People always run their mouths, we prefer speak on the pitch.
“I’m proud of this team, this is the reward for so much sacrifice. We were convinced that we could do it and we did it.”
Meanwhile Zidane recalled that Madrid had to take on some of the toughest sides in the competition to get to the Kiev final on May 26.
“We played against a huge team, Juventus was the same (in the quarter-finals), PSG was the same (in the last 16).
“We are happy, we beat three huge teams, but that can’t happen without suffering.”
Joshua Kimmich sent Bayern ahead in the third minute but Karim Benzema struck in the 11th and 63rd to turn the game around, before James Rodriguez equalised to set up a frantic finale.
Bayern Munich knew they only had themselves to blame after goalkeeper Sven Ulreich’s error handed Benzema his second, crucial goal.
“It is extremely bitter (to go out like this),” said defender Mats Hummels. “We had chances in the first game, we were more dangerous today but in the end Real made fewer big mistakes.”
Coach Jupp Heynckes, who won the European Cup with Real Madrid in 1998, was proud of his Bayern players, saying they have not played as well as this in recent seasons.
“I told the boys just now that I have not seen Bayern like tonight in the past few years,” said the coach. “But at this high level you cannot make the mistakes we made in the first game and tonight after the break. Then you don’t have to wonder why you are leaving the pitch as the defeated team.
“When you score twice against real at the Bernabeu it means something, but Navas was outstanding.”
On keeper Sven Ulreich’s error, Heynckes added: “Ulreich got confused, had a little black-out.
“He didn’t know if he could pick it up, realised he couldn’t, got nervous and that’s what happened. It’s a terrible thing for a player to live through."
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